Wednesday, April 22, 2009


What does doing laundry on my patio with my Urban Washing Machine have to do with Earth Day 2009 ?
For one it's hand powered so very very energy efficient.
Two, this urban homestead washing machine was made with recycled materials.
Three, it uses homemade laundry soap.
Four, unless excessively abused this system will last a lifetime (landfill issues).
Five, this system harnesses the power of Nature's elements to dry the clothing.
Six, it's cost effective ( let's see Madison Ave. sell this for a jacked up price).
Seven, it's lightweight & portable - little to no carbon emissions spent on transporting.
Eight, it has built in security. No washing machine jacking happening here.
Nine, it allows the operator to multi task incorporating both clothes washing and an upper body work out at the same time thus saving $ that would be spent buying a gym membership. Not to mention the gas to drive to one.
Ten, this further enhances a very valuable life's lesson (conservation) that you can pass on to your children which is if you dirty it you plunge it.
K, seriously here's the low down.
My front loader that cost more than my 1st through 4th cars broke a few weeks ago. Well not actually broke but instead of spinning like a Lear jet it now starts knocking like the S.W.A.T. come a calling on a drug house when ever it hits the spin cycle. It has 3 spin cycles.
Got tired of thinking that my local drug task force mistaken my veggie seedlings growing under grow lights for asparagus (code for illegal vegetation).
Now that I'm on sabbatical (unemployed) I'm really not willing to call out a service guy.
DH took a quick look under the hood but due to a hectic work schedule & other more pressing homesteading tasks like building a raised bed he & a daughter haven't really looked under the hood. Plus I'd have to hide my canning stove & a few other activities we engage in that tip toe close to the line of illegal when the Maytag Man comes a knocking.
So in less than five minutes DH drilled me a hole in the lid of a 5 gallon pail then added a screw to keep the head of a plunger on the stick. I cut 4 slits vertically on the top of the rubber portion to increase the agitation effect. Kinda like my own personality huh?
An upgrade would be to snag an old broom or mop handle to replace the handle on the plunger. This would make for a better leverage.
Use: place a bit of laundry soap in bucket along with water followed by clothing. If it's socks & unders then 6 to 10. T-shirts two or three. Secure lid with plunger in the bucket, handle sticking out thru the hole in lid. Plunge like your churning butter for two minutes.
Wring clothing out, place in the next bucket which has water & a few tablespoons of white vinegar in. This is your rinse cycle. Agitate with hands a few times then wring out.
Place clothing on line or the back of a chair to dry.
Better to do outside as then dripping water isn't an issue.
Bath tub works well also.
Optional - add a second bucket with a tablespoon of fabric softener to water for a finally rinse cycle.
Not wringing the clothes out completely only added 6 extra hours of drying time. So until DH can rehab that old antique clothes wringer we bought I'm not gonna stress about it.
This has been a great way to extend the family budget. We are only needing to visit the neighborhood Laundromat once a week doing only 3 loads - jeans, heavy articles like hoodies, blankets, & towels.
~~ pelenaka ~~
5/28/2009 Update - heavy blankets & comforters are the only items that have been laundered @ the laundromat. Seems as time goes by my stamina for plunging increases so washing blue jeans & hoodies aren't an issue. Wool blankets however are a bit over the top for me ... now.